RCB publishes sustainability bond framework

The charity bond issuer RCB has today published a sustainability bond framework, allowing future issues to be classified as either social, green or sustainable bonds. A second-party opinion has also been published by S&P Global Ratings, confirming the alignment of the framework with the ICMA green and social bond principles.

RCB is a bond issuing platform, created by social finance pioneer Allia to raise debt finance for UK charities through bonds listed on London Stock Exchange and sold to both retail and institutional investors. It was designed to make it affordable for charity borrowers to raise relatively small amounts in the capital markets to invest in their business, enabling them to make a greater social or environmental impact.

To date, RCB has issued over £300m of bonds through 10 issues for seven different charities. These include Golden Lane Housing, which provides homes for people with a learning disability, Greensleeves Homes Trust, which provides care for older people in its residential, dementia and nursing homes, and The Alnwick Garden Trust, which manages the Alnwick Gardens and delivers a range of community outreach programmes.

Under the sustainability bond framework, RCB may issue social bonds to support activities associated with affordable housing, health care and care services, culture and natural heritage, education and training, or investing in disadvantaged communities. It may also issue green bonds to finance the creation of new energy efficient buildings or measures which reduce energy consumption, the installation and maintenance of renewable energy generation sources and conservation of the natural environment.

The RCB platform is managed by Allia C&C, the financial services arm of the Allia group which provides debt advisory and arranging services for charities and responsible businesses. Adrian Bell, chief executive of Allia C&C, said:

“The RCB platform was created to accelerate and increase positive social and environmental impact by facilitating charities’ access to medium-term flexible debt funding. This framework, and its assessment by S&P Global Ratings, now provides greater transparency on how this is achieved and will help us reach an even wider audience of investors who are looking to buy social, green and sustainable bonds.”

Ana Maria Romero Ramirez at S&P Global Ratings said:

“Based on our assessment of the contents of RCB’s sustainability bond framework, we regard this framework as being aligned with the four components of the Principles, given that RCB has committed to allocate the full amount of the net proceeds of bonds to eligible green and social projects, use clear green and social criteria to select projects for funding, manage and track proceeds, and regularly report the environmental and social impact and use of proceeds.”

Sustainability Bond Framework

S&P Global Ratings Opinion